Looking for advice on SAS expander

jcl333

Active Member
May 28, 2011
153
32
28
Hello,

I just purchased an LSI 9400-16i, and I am looking for an expander to go with it to create an external jbod enclosure (I am converting my old 10-slot QNAP).

I often like to go with new or nearly new items because I want to get a long usable lifespan and latest driver support, so it would be great to find a good deal on a 12G expander, looks like Intel and HPe appear to be the most popular in the $200 - $400 range. I also like that you can get 48G with just one cable.

I would go with a 6G one if really cheap maybe.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks

JCL
 

kroy

New Member
May 17, 2019
24
7
3
Are you loading it up with spinners or SSDs?

You really can't saturate even 6Gb gear with 10 drives if they are spinners. If they are SSDs, that's another story.

I mean for "really cheap", the HPs can't really be beat. Ironically enough, half the ones on eBay for half that price that say 3Gb, actually work at 6Gb, since it was actually a firmware update that make them work at 6Gb. But that's always a crapshoot depending on which one you get.

The Intel RES2SV240 were my gotos for a long time for guaranteed 6Gb, but the prices on those have gone up quite a bit.

Another thought is to keep in mind that you have 4 ports worth and 10 drives, which breaks out to 16 drives, and your card is internal.

So you don't even need an expander. Just a mess of cables and adapters to get an internal card to external ports, then external cables, then external ports to internal ports, then SAS->SATA forward breakout cables.

That would give you the best performance possible and be the fastest possible until you have more than 16 drives.

If you aren't wanting to build a DAS and are just building a server around that card, then all you need are the forward breakout cables, no expander required until you want more than 16 drives.
 

jcl333

Active Member
May 28, 2011
153
32
28
Hey guys, thank you for the replies.

Kroy:
- At this time it is all spinners, but I definitely plan to play with SSDs in the near future
- I actually just pulled the trigger on an Intel RES3TV360 brand-new / open-box for $225 (it is really nice)
- Very much overkill, but I am hoping since this is a current product it will last me a long time
- I also like that I have 48Gig of bandwidth between my HBA and the expander using just one small cable
- Interestingly, the latest firmware even says it supports tri-mode HBAs and RAID controllers

I originally got the 16-port HBA so that I could (hopefully) run the card directly in the QNAP without an expander, because there really isn't room for both of these in there. Unfortunately, the backplane port on the QNAP motherboard, that looks like a PCIe x8 port, is actually just a proprietary connector that looks like one. This leaves me with only one PCIe port, and I wanted to do the HBA and a 10Gig NIC.

So, I purchased a Supermicro X9SCM-F, which can take the same Xeon CPU and ECC RAM that I upgraded the QNAP with for $50, and now with the expander I should be able to turn the QNAP into an external JBOD enclosure. I also purchased a nice Fractal Design case that itself can also take 11x 3.5" and 4x 2.5" drives, so I should be set for drives and ports for quite some time. I even got an EVGA power supply that included a nice adapter to run the power supply without a motherboard. I am currently building this out now with all the cables, adapters, and fans needed to make it all work, which is actually quite allot of stuff. I was thinking it might be worth a follow up to the article on STH about creating your own JBOD that was inspiration for me going down this path. At the very least I can follow up here with some pics when I am done.

It's funny, my intention was to build this out as a backup server to something more powerful that would be the primary, but this backup server is turning into something pretty special in it's own right.

Caplam:
- The QNAP model was a 10-slot TS-1079 Pro (became a ES- model when I put a Xeon and ECC ram in there)
- Two of the ports on the backplane died, and QNAP support said they don't make them anymore so I was completely SOL
- It was a bit of a leap of faith to buy this thing in the first place at $2,800 six years ago
- I was very happy with it, and I still think QNAP's are nice, but after this incident I don't think I would buy one again
- Creating this JBOD out of it's corpse has been kind of fun, so at least I can still get some value out of it
- From here I will stick with things that are more commodity-oriented to that I could still buy spares many years afterward
- In theory, you might still be able to run the QNAP OS on my heavily modified version here, I might try it just for S&G
- However, from here I am going to stick with Storage Spaces or ZFS, I think check-summed data is the way to go forward
- It would be interesting to see if I could run the QNAP inside a VM or something.....

-JCL